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Posts Tagged ‘Zucchini’

Caponata

 

As I’ve said more than a few times in my ramblings, Steve, my husband, does not much care for eggplant so I always have to hide it under other flavors and textures. For a tasty side dish to serve along with a flank steak marinated in olive oil and rosemary, I combined the eggplant with zucchini and tomato to make a sort-of caponata. Thought I made enough to serve throughout the week, but our guests liked it so much there was nothing left to stretch out meals during the week. Here’s what I did:

 

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more to taste

1 sweet onion, peeled and diced

1 head fresh green garlic, chopped (had just picked a bunch up at the greenmarket, but a couple of

cloves of garlic would work just as well)

Salt

2 small eggplant, trimmed and diced

2 large zucchini, trimmed and diced

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice

A handful of basil leaves

About 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Chili flakes as many or as few as you want – I tend to be heavy-handed

Ground black pepper

 

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the onions have softened a bit. Stir in the eggplant and continue to cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant has absorbed some of the oil and begun to soften. Add the zucchini and tomatoes along with the basil and oregano. Season with chile flakes and pepper, cover, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook at a bare simmer for about an hour or until the vegetables are soft and the flavors are nicely blended. You may want to add more olive oil along the way; I like the fruitiness of it so often add more than I probably should.

Remove from the heat and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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©StephenKolyer_ZucchiniEggRoll

It’s odd, but in our house we have definite zucchini lovers and haters. I’m not exactly the latter, but for sure it is not my favorite vegetable. Steve, my husband, loves it and our granddaughter, Canada, favors it also so I do try to find ways of cooking it that will appeal to both sides. One of my easier methods is to half it, lengthwise, and the cut it, crosswise, into little half-moon shapes. Then, I sauté some onions and garlic and add the zucchini to the pan just as they begin to color slightly. The moisture in the squash keeps the onions and garlic from burning and as it evaporates everything begins to brown. That’s when I add some tomatoes, red chile flakes, and season with salt and pepper. If the tomatoes add too much liquid, I’ll add a squeeze or two of tomato paste. When all of the vegetables have sorta melded together, I throw in some fresh herbs – basil, thyme, or rosemary. This mix makes a great base for some sliced grilled chicken breast or pork loin. Try it.

 

Zucchini_G10_IMG_0238

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For years, I have thought that my family – with the exception of my granddaughter, Canada, hated zucchini so I never cooked it.  Another exception – I do like zucchini bread which I make all summer when the squash beds are verdant with bulbs.  (See the recipe in the cookbook idea, An American Family Cooks)  Now, after all this time, I’ve learned that Steve, my dear photographing husband, actually likes zucchini, too.  So beginning this spring, it has frequently been on the menu, particularly sliced, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and roasted.  With summer, I hate to turn on the oven so we have moved onto zucchini salad.  It has become a favorite and since zucchini is so mild, it can be doctored up with whatever I find in the fridge – Chinese flavors, Thai flavors, Italian flavors, you name it, zucchini will absorb them all.

Here is one version – it should serve 4 to 6 people.  Don’t worry about the cheese, it is simply what I had on hand – any hard cheese would work or no cheese at all.  The vegetables can be prepared in advance, covered, and refrigerated, but don’t mix the salad until just before serving as the zucchini will wilt and the basil discolor.

 

            1½ pounds zucchini, washed, trimmed, and shaved on a mandoline or other

vegetable slicer

1 carrot, trimmed, peeled, and shaved with a vegetable peeler

½ cup slivered Vidalia or other sweet onion

¼ cup slivered basil leaves

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons moscato vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Ricotta salata, optional

 

Combine the zucchini, carrot, onion, and basil in a large salad bowl.

Combine the olive oil and vinegar with salt and pepper to taste and whisk to emulsify.  Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing to coat evenly.  Taste and, if necessary, add seasoning – if using the cheese be careful not to over-salt.

When plating, using a vegetable peeler, shave strips of the cheese over each serving and dust with cracked black pepper.

 

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